Historic NASA mission will be first to 'touch the sun'

Mindy Sparks
August 10, 2018

"According to a statement from Nasa, the probe is due to orbit within six-and-a-half million kilometres of the Sun's "surface", where the probe will "(face) heat and radiation unlike any spacecraft in history".

The car-sized probe, which will fly closer to the sun than any other man-made object, is set to blast off at 3:33am eastern daylight time (8:33am BST) from Cape Canaveral, Florida on August 11.

After launch, the spacecraft will head toward the sun's atmosphere, known as the solar corona, made up of super hot plasma.

The US space agency launches its Parker Solar Probe on Saturday, which will travel closer to the Sun than any mission before, to unlock the secrets of fierce radioactive storms which threaten Earth. "It gives me the sense of excitement of an explorer". The probe will use Venus' gravity to slow itself down as it makes its close approaches with the sun.


The spacecraft will orbit the sun 24 times - sampling the solar wind and providing close-up observations - while enduring temperatures of 1,377C (2510F). It will hitch a ride into space aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket, and an upper stage boost from the rocket will send it hurtling out of Earth's orbit and on a path to Venus, eventually moving at speeds up to 700,000 kmh (430,000 mph) - faster than any probe that came before it.

"The solar wind also fills up much of the solar system, dominating the space environment far past Earth", NASA said. The spacecraft and its suite of delicate instruments will be protected from the sun's extreme heat by a carbon fiber heat shield.

Nasa says the TPS has been tested to withstand up to 1,650C temperatures and "can handle any heat the sun can send its way".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER